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Moray Tory group in chaos as new sole Leader Cllr Kathleen Robertson says Cllr Neil McLennan was toppled in secret no confidence vote

By Lewis McBlane

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COUNCILLOR Neil McLennan was ousted as Co-Leader of Moray Council in June after losing a vote of no confidence from fellow Tory councillors due to "concerns over his behaviour".

Cllr McLennan congratulates Cllr Coyler at the Moray Council Local Election May 2022...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Cllr McLennan congratulates Cllr Coyler at the Moray Council Local Election May 2022...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

After a day of chaos for Moray Council's Tory group, the now-sole Leader of Moray Council Kathleen Robertson confirmed that Conservative councillors secretly voted to depose Cllr McLennan.

Cllr Robertson said: "Councillor McLennan received a letter from our group at the end of last month confirming his loss of a Vote of No Confidence, which removed him as group leader, after concerns had been raised with me over his behaviour by councillors both within and outwith the Conservative group.

"However, we recognised the many talents he has and had hoped to use this summer recess period to reach a compromise to allow him to fully use his talents for the people of Moray as part of our group.

"It is disappointing that has not occurred and that this dispute has resulted in Councillor McLennan leaving our group.

"That will not detract myself and my fellow group of Moray Conservative councillors from focussing on the challenges facing our area and being an administration that delivers on the people's priorities."

The news came after Cllr McLennan claimed that he had "stepped aside" from the Conservative group due to his concern over the "poor behaviours" of others.

Cllr McLennan wrote: "I have stepped aside from the 'unconstituted' Moray Conservative Councillors Group having consistently questioned poor behaviours.

"I temporarily shall position myself as an independent councillor with one nation conservatism leanings.

"Once the national leadership position is clearer and the issues I have raised are resolved, I shall consider my political positioning in the future.

"For now, I remain first and foremost committed to supporting my ward members in Buckie and supporting Moray."

Happier times – Kathleen Robertson and Neil McLennan.
Happier times – Kathleen Robertson and Neil McLennan.

In a BBC interview earlier in this month, apparently after his covert sacking in late June, Cllr McLennan publicly criticised Scottish Tory leader and Moray MP Douglas Ross for changing his position on Boris Johnson's leadership.

Asked by interviewer Victoria Derbyshire for his view on Boris Johnson's resignation, Cllr McLennan said: "I called for Boris's resignation very early on and was very consistent through it during a time when others u-turned, flip-flopped, jellyfished, whatever you want to call it.

"But I was very consistent and voters I spoke to were very consistent. They were not happy with what Boris had done."

In reply, Ms Derbyshire said: "Well Douglas Ross flip-flopped himself, didn't he?"

Cllr McLennan responded: "He did. He changed his mind during it.

"I had that conversation with him during it and I wanted him to remain consistent.

"I remained consistent and my newspaper articles were consistent all the way through it.

"Voters don't like wrongdoing, they don't like criminality and they certainly don't like cover-ups."

Cllr McLennan went on to promote the Tory leadership campaigns of a number of MPs, including Ben Wallace and Tom Tugenhadt, as well as current Attorney General Suella Braverman.

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